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Kashmiri pundits ask for ‘Internally Displaced People’ status

Kashmiri pundits ask for ‘Internally Displaced People’ status

Washington: Days ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to India, a US-based Kashmiri Pundits’ group today sought his help in declaring the community as internally displaced people in India and restoration of an environment conducive for their return.

International Kashmir Federation (IKF) chairman Jeevan Zutshi, who met senior State Department officials at their Foggy Bottom headquarters here said restoring the political and economic rights of the Kashmiri Pundits would give them equal status rather than a second class citizenship in their native land.

“Kashmiri Pundits did nothing to stir the Islamic terrorism in Kashmir and yet they have paid and are paying an extreme penalty for it.

“The unfortunate perverse politics has denied them their human and civil rights given to them by their country’s constitution and by the international organisations," said Zutshi.

Some of the key demands of IKF are declaring Kashmiri Pundit community as Internally Displaced People (IDP).

“It will be a mighty step in alleviating the suffering of Pundits if we let them return to Kashmir, to their homes and hearths, to their jobs, and to their milieu.

“But it is not feasible at this time due to the lack of security there and the lack of help of the local government," said Zutsi.

The organisation said a ‘Commission of Enquiry’ to establish the causes that led to the selective and targeted killings of Kashmiri Pundits and their subsequent forced exile and appropriate the responsibility and punish the guilty, needs to be set up.

IKF also wants that the investigation agencies and courts be directed to expedite the prosecution cases against terrorists charged with Kashmiri Pundits’ killings.

“The state of Kashmiri Pundits, twenty one years after the unleashing of Pakistan’s terrorism in Kashmir, has rendered them economically deprived, politically disfranchised, and culturally anchorless.

“The original inhabitants of Kashmir, intellectualised and independent minded are now exiled into the plains of India, looking for a loaf of bread, a shelter, and some respect," it said.

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